I can’t believe that we have made it to one year of exclusive breastfeeding! I swear, our journey just started yesterday. I have yet to come to understanding that 1.) my baby girl is now a toddler 2.) this beautiful thing can end at literally any moment.
Fortunately, our breastfeeding journey has been a fairly easy one. We struggled for the first few weeks, but it has been smooth sailing from there. Don’t get me wrong, exclusively breastfeeding is by no means an easy task.
To celebrate our HUGE milestone, I dragged my hubby to take some pictures of us! They came out absolutely amazing, these will definitely be something I will always cherish. Don’t feel discouraged about breastfeeding out in public. Shamelessly have your husband follow you around with his cellphone, your BFF with her new Nikon, or spend the whopping $200 on a photographer. One of my biggest mommy regrets is not getting maternity and newborn pictures (cuz helllllo, I’m frugal!). Do yourself a favor, just go and take the damn photos.
For the moms that are just starting, or that would like to start – check out my post about Relieving engorgement. There are so many great tips, and it links to everything you need to know about breastfeeding! Also, don’t forget to subscribe to get your free breastfeeding printouts! I have included a breastfeeding tracker and safe storage of breastmilk.
I still remember trying to have Evelyn latch on for the first time as if it were yesterday. I had just given birth and enjoying skin-to-skin for the first time. I was a complete emotional wreck, crying in utter excitement. I didn’t know how to hold her or how to introduce my nipple to her. I remember growing so frustrated and thought terrible things to myself. I have this incredible being in front of me, why can I not nourish her? Seriously, having her latch on for the first time was like magic. A magic that is so strong and can never be replaced.
There is something special about knowing that this journey is completely unique and will only be shared between me and my little angel. Nothing will ever be able to replace locking eyes with her as she replenishes herself with my milk. Her lips flare out in just the cutest way possible, and I know that we are connected. I recently taught Evelyn how to rub my belly or my side during feeding, and it just makes feeding so incredibly relaxing!
The first two weeks of our journey was absolute hell. I screamed and cried out of frustration. The pain was beyond unbearable. I felt like an absolute failure, and no words of encouragement could prove otherwise. My breasts swelled in an excruciating manner, that only could be relieved by hand expressing over the sink. My nipples would bleed and were always left blistered. I grew frustrated with my lactation consultant for not having simple answers, and only put us further back.
However, once we established a proper latch, it was smooth sailing (for the most part).
Nights of cluster feeding will always stick with me. Why must I wake up every hour, on the hour? Is it actually possible to hold her for 7 hours in a day? Yes, it’s all part of the struggle – but knowing that she was receiving that liquid gold kept me going.
If I could start over again
I’m not sure there would be many things that I would change if I could start again. Perhaps, learn the proper latching technique sooner. Words don’t even begin to describe how badly I wish I had more support and more voices of encouragement. Yes, my husband is/ was/ always will be my number one super fan. But, he had no idea how to comfort me in such hard times. Of course he isn’t going to know about proper latching, why should he?
Looking back, I suppose taking more mental breaks for myself would have to go on the list. I never bothered with a bottle since I’m a stay at home mommy. What if I decided to allow my baby to have a bottle? Maybe daddy or the babysitter could have taken over so I can feel as if my body was actually MY body.
Regardless, I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished and cannot wait to do it again with my future children!
When will it end?
Now this, this question absolutely terrifies me. I have heard mommas say that their babies self weaned very spontaneously in between year one to year two. I’m not sure I would mentally be prepared if my daughter decided that she no longer needed my comfort! As of right now, I’m hoping we can begin weaning a few months shy of 2 years of age. If she decides to do it sooner, I guess I’ll just have to accept it.
How YOU can keep the magic going!
There are so many things that I can say, I don’t even know where to start! First things first, remember – this benefits your baby is so many ways. The medicinal and nourishing properties of breastmilk should be enough! I know, it can be frustrating. With that being said, it is okay to accept that breastfeeding is not for you. But, don’t knock it until you try it.
Set mini goals for yourself. Maybe, the first hurdle is one month. Maybe 6 months. It is so much easier to run a race when you know where the finish line is. If you can keep running, set yourself a new goal & bathe in achievement!
You found yourself on That Frugal Momma, ya? Well think of all of the money you’ll be saving! I cannot imagine spending $25 on a can of formula once every few days. No thank you, sir.
Consider the bond. I know, I know, I know….there are so many other ways to create a bond with your baby. I mean, you created a bond with your husband – and that probably didn’t involve your boobs, right? Hah okay, maybe not. But you get the idea.
If you’re every feeling beyond discouraged, reach out for help! Whether that be your friends, family, lactation consultant, online chatrooms, etc. Help will always be out there. Shoot, send me a message. I’d be more than happy to talk! After all, it really does take a village.